'America is losing its class,' mayor frets

September 23, 1990|By Ellen Uzelac

GALLUP, N.M. -- Back in 1968, when he was first elected mayor of this dusty Western town, Edward Munoz led a campaign to prevent a local theater from showing "Rosemary's Baby," a movie he considered obscene. Now, he says, that movie seems like a Disney production.

"Call me old-fashioned, but I like Spencer Tracy and Bob Hope," said the 63-year-old Mr. Munoz, who is once again, after a years-long absence, the top municipal officer of this community of 18,000.

"You just don't have folks like that anymore. Our standards have slipped. Some of the stuff you see and hear these days isn't only bad, it's embarrassing."

The easy-mannered Mr. Munoz said he's embarrassed not only by what he sees at the movies, but on TV. Even T-shirt slogans have taken their toll on his sensibilities.

"With freedom of speech, you also have responsibility," Mr. Munoz said. "In my opinion, this is affecting society in a violent way. We have accepted so much for so long, and now things have gotten out of hand.

"America is losing its class," he added. "It's just not there. It's not only in movies and songs. Walk down a street and listen to people talking. Some of the words you wouldn't hear out of a sailor. What made our country strong was the values we had. Today, people aren't afraid of the devil himself."

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